After enjoying a repeat viewing of the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, I decided to re-watch another major Andrew Davies adaptation from around the same period . This time I went for the BBC’s six-episode version of George Eliot’s Middlemarch, made the previous year, with a superb cast, headed by Juliet Aubrey and Rufus Sewell… though Robert Hardy actually gives my favourite performance.
This is another production which was originally shown when my children were very young and so I almost certainly failed to take it in properly at the time. Watching it again now, I found myself full of admiration for it, and think it is every bit as good as the Davies P&P – dare I say, maybe even better. It’s been a long while since I’ve read Middlemarch, so I can’t comment in any detail on how near the adaptation is to the novel, although clearly, with such a long book, large chunks are bound to have been lost or condensed into smaller scenes or sequences of dialogue. In any case, I do think this mini-series, directed by Anthony Page, is a complex work of art in its own right, creating a powerful picture of the tensions and rivalries within a small community, and within two marriages.